Joseph Goldstein – Insight Hour – Ep. 99 – Mindfulness of the Six Sense Spheres

Joseph Goldstein continues his series of talks on the Satipatthana Sutta, this time focusing on mindfulness of the six sense spheres and the fetters that arise dependent on them. 

Joseph Goldstein continues his series of talks on the Satipatthana Sutta, this time focusing on mindfulness of the six sense spheres and the fetters that arise dependent on them. 

Mindfulness of the Six Sense Spheres

Joseph introduces the six sense spheres – eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind – and how they are the root of our experience from moment to moment. He goes over the instructions the Buddha gave for contemplating the sense spheres, and talks about how they can oftentimes reinforce our sense of self.

“Our whole world of experience is contained within these six spheres: the eye and visible objects, the ear and sound, the nose and smell, the tongue and taste, the body and sensations, the mind and mind-objects.” – Joseph Goldstein

Ram Dass talks more about the sense of self and reducing one’s self to zero on Here and Now Ep. 171

Fetters and Defilements (17:15)

Joseph explores the selfless nature of consciousness; consciousness itself is a contingent, conditioned arising. He talks about the fetters such as greed, desire, and anger that keep us from opening the clenched fist of our mind. We need to practice paying attention to these fetters arising in our sense spheres.

“What is the energetic sense when fetters of desire, of craving, of anger, of hatred, of delusion, are present? It would be very helpful to look carefully at this so we begin to feel in a very experiential way what the suffering of these defilements is about.” – Joseph Goldstein

The Mind Without Preference (38:40)

Joseph shares how we can bring mindfulness of these fetters into both our practice and everyday life. He talks about how we have preferences about our sense spheres – we’re infatuated with sense objects, they’re like the bait of the world – but we can practice having a mind without preference.

“There’s a universe of difference between the mind that wants, the mind that’s leaning into experience, and a true openness without preference. Right there is our involvement, or our entanglement, our enchantment with suffering, and freedom. That’s how big the difference is.” – Joseph Goldstein

Joseph Goldstein continues his series of talks on the Satipatthana Sutta, this time focusing on mindfulness of the six sense spheres and the fetters that arise dependent on them. 

Images via @jgurtman and @iheartcreative on Twenty20